“The volume and complexity of what we know has exceeded our individual ability to deliver its benefits correctly, safely, or reliably.” Atul Gawande wrote in The Checklist Manifesto.
What I see is that we have way too much knowledge coming at us at any given point in time and it can be overwhelming or just plain distracting. So we write down the important…what we need to remember in order to have something we can refer back to…so we aren’t missing anything.
I am willing to bet if you have ever done a household project and gone to Home Depot without a list you forgot something. Even if you had the list, if you weren’t specific, you still got the wrong item. Either way, you are back on the road wasting your valuable time redoing what you should have done right from the get go. Yes, I did this recently. The only difference is I did it three times in a row. Frustrating to say the least although, my wife seemed to find humor in it.
In the business world today, I have seen executives talk about their plans, but I would say only half actually wrote that plan down. If I had a nickel for every one of them who said, “It’s right here in my noggin,” I would be a rich man. So why write it down. Writing objectives down solidifies what I want done, where I want to go, and how I am going to get there. I look back at some of the sales campaigns I ran, and when I don’t write down my plan, it fails. Yes, it was in my noggin, but the complexity of the campaign did not allow me to cover all the bases or learn from my mistakes. Doctors have check lists so they don’t miss a step. Missing a step as a doctor has major implications. As managers, can we afford missteps? Bottom line is, the top performing managers believe they can’t.
Having a plan on paper allows you to learn from past mistakes. As a football coach in my earlier years, I would have the first 12 plays already on paper before we started the game. From those 12 plays I would learn what worked best and move forward with those best plays and retool the others to make them better. Don Mann wrote “Inside Seal Team Six” and how they planned for the capture or death of the USA number one bad guy, Osama bin Laden. They had a plan but were prepared for all kinds of contingencies. “Plan your dive and dive your plan.”
What it really boils down to is what do you really want to happen? If it’s that important to you or your organization, then write it down and make it happen.
Richard Goering, Guest Blogger, 3C Network
Richard is a top performing sales and operational leader in the building industry backed by 18 years of experience. He currently is the Executive Vice President of 3C Network. His previous position was as the General Manager, for BlueLinx Corporation (a leading national wholesale distributor) presiding over the entire northwest & mountain regions of the US including Hawaii and Alaska. Richard’s career path has encompassed various positions held across the nation and abroad. He has a B.S. in Sport Management and a minor in Public Relations from Georgia Southern University. Richard currently lives in Denver, Colorado with his wife, Shiloh and children.